Transparency International condemns the latest move by the Egyptian government to restrict the space for civil society to operate freely and calls upon the authorities to protect civil society so it can operate independently and freely.
Tomorrow is the deadline set for civil society organisations to register under the 2002 NGO Law on Associations, which gives the authorities the power to block overseas funding, freeze assets and even shut down organisations who do not register.
Transparency International calls for the deadline to be cancelled and renews its demand for the authorities to comply with internationally recognised principles of freedom of association in the issuance of any civil society laws.
“Civil society must be allowed to flourish rather than be restricted as it goes about its important work as a voice for accountability, particularly at a time of instability” said Jose Ugaz, chair of Transparency International.
“This regressive move runs counter to the public commitment made by President el-Sisi in creating an enabling environment for civil society’s participation in monitoring and holding public officials to account,” he added.
Article 13 of the United Nations Conventions Against Corruption (UNCAC) obligates states to actively promote the participation of civil society in the crucial fight against corruption. Egypt has been a signatory of UNCAC since 2005.
Egypt failed recently in front of the United Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review to give strong assurances that it would live up to its commitments under international conventions to promote and protect civil society.
The increasingly worrying trend of limiting the space for civil society in countries such as Hungary, Russia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela prompted Transparency International’s membership to pass a resolution calling on all governments to act now to safeguard the space for civil society in the fight against corruption and for basic rights to work free from fear, harassment and intimidation.
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